Tigress Avni (T1)'s cubs spotted near village in Pandharkawda

Updated: Nov 16, 2018, 11:48 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

A patrolling team of the Forest Department and some villagers sighted them near Vihirgaon; officials are making the best efforts to capture them

Representational Pic
Representational Pic

There's good news for wildlife lovers, as a patrolling team of the forest department looking for the cubs of tigress T1, also known as Avni, spotted them early on Thursday morning. The patrolling team and some villagers from Vihirgaon had a direct sighting of both the cubs in Pandharkawda. But there is also sad news, as three other tiger cubs have died after they were hit by a train, near Chandrapur.

Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (APCCF), Wildlife, Sunil Limaye said, "At around 5.30 am on Thursday our patrolling team spotted both the cubs of T1 a few hundred metres from Vihirgaon, which is positive news. A strategy is being drawn to capture them safely."

'Monitoring the area'
The FD has placed meat at multiple locations where the cubs were spotted. "We have placed bait at many locations and are taking precautions to ensure there is minimum movement by people in the area to prevent the cubs from getting disturbed. Only teams of experts and veterinarians are closely monitoring the area because we want to capture the cubs safely," said an official from the forest department.

The monitoring of adjoining areas and the combing operation is on along with a camera trapping exercise to track the movement of the cubs. While everyone wants the cubs to be safely captured, there are officials who don't want them to spend their life in cages. "We don't want the cubs to stay behind bars for life and so once they are safely captured, a committee comprising experts will be formed, to check if they can be released back into the wild," said an FD official.

Tigress Avni T1 Killing Row Escalates: Is There A Plan To Kill The Cubs Also?

Experts say
"The sighting of both cubs is a very positive development and this proves that the Maharashtra Forest Department and the veterinarians present on the ground are competent, contrary to the claims of controversial hunter Nawab Shafat Ali Khan, that the FD and vets are not capable of handling the operation," said expert veterinarian Dr Prayag H S.

3 cubs die on railway track
According to FD officials, three tiger cubs died while crossing the railway track in the Junona forest area, in the Chandrapur Forest Division. According to FD officials, the three cubs were hit by the Ballarshah Gondia passenger train on Thursday morning. The bodies of the cubs have been taken for post-mortem.

"The pseudo activists who are saying that the cubs that died on the railway track are T1's cubs are lying. I have compared the images of the dead cubs with the picture of the two offspring of T1, and so I can comment with confidence that the cubs which died are not of T1. The forest department is making every effort to capture T1's offspring and so pseudo activists should not make comments that lower the morale of people working to trap them. However, the case should be investigated as per National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) protocol," said Dr Prayag.

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